David Weiss

In Store

In Novokuznetsk, a coal mining town in Siberia, a morgue worker

posted a video in which he appeared to walk on bodies in bags.

They were so tightly packed in a corridor that there seemed no other way to get through.


“This is the hallway,” said the worker, who did not identify himself.

“There are corpses all over. You can fall down walking here,

you can trip over them. I have to walk on their heads.”

— 26 Oct. 2020


At night he feels them the heads

underfoot difficult to walk on

hard not to stumble over


in the narrow ill-lit hallway of corpses

each in a black plastic contractor bag

their feet sticking out laces untied

this acting chairman this president

this prime minister now this supreme leader

a name he doesn’t object to


He’s left them for other to deal with

They are so treacherous

underfoot the heads especially


Especially in Siberia

the dead don’t go away

The dead who have the last say


the dead who speak for the dead

When he is dead

there’ll be no getting around it

he won't be purged or expunged or reviled

He'll be left entirely to himself

For the special ones shame may come to life


Up here where the sun’s still shining

no one will hear him cry

and no children will die in the streets